How to: Manage media on Android via Windows Media Player

Android can sync easily to Windows Media Player in much the same way that the iPhone and iPad sync to iTunes, so any Windows user can transfer music between their PC and their Android phone or tablet. Here's how.

Android can sync easily to Windows Media Player in much the same way that the iPhone and iPad sync to iTunes, so any Windows user can transfer music between their PC and their Android phone or tablet. Here’s how.

The first time you connect your Android phone to your PC, an autorun dialog box will prompt you to install your phone’s drivers, or you may see a small helper app preloaded on the phone. Run the installer to load the drivers that Windows needs to sync with your device.

Android Control Panel

If you don’t see a control panel window for your device, open the Windows Control Panel, find ‘Devices and Printers’, and look for a listing for your device.

Your phone’s control panel will contain several options for handling files: ‘Manage media on your device’, ‘Import pictures and videos’, ‘Browse files’, and ‘Change general settings’. Some devices may have other options beyond those core choices.

Windows will automatically select the default apps for managing music and photos, but you can change them if you want to just by clicking Change program under each option. For this tutorial, we‘ll accept the defaults of Windows Media Player and of Windows Live Photo Gallery.

Import image files

To import videos and photos from your phone’s camera, double-click Import pictures and videos. Windows will automatically search your phone’s camera roll. You can add tags if you wish, and then click OK to start the import. Check the box to delete the files from your camera, or leave it unchecked to keep them. When all of the files are imported, an Explorer window will open to show you what you’ve transferred.

Sync media files

Double-click Manage media on your device to get started syncing media files.

If you already have music files on your phone that are not in your Windows music library, first transfer those items from the phone to Windows. To do so, select your device from the list in the left pane, choose Music, and then highlight and drag the files into the box marked ‘Drag items here’. Click Start sync to transfer them.

Once you’ve moved music files from the phone to the PC, set up the sync relationship by right-clicking the drop-down menu beneath the Sync tab on the right side of the window and clicking Set up sync. This action will open a new window, with a prompt to choose how Windows Media Player should deal with the data already on your device. To prevent Media Player from wiping anything off your phone’s data card, choose the option to leave the data on your device. On the next screen, you’ll be asked to name your device; it should already have a name, which you can change if you like. Click Finish to start the sync; it will match the media collection on your phone to your library (to the extent your phone’s storage capacity will allow).

That’s it. Henceforth, when­ever you connect your phone to the PC, Windows Media Player will update the library on your phone to match the current collection on your computer, as needed.

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Robert Strohmeyer

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